movie film review | chris tookey
 
     
     
 

Drag Me To Hell

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  Drag Me To Hell Review
Tookey's Rating
7 /10
 
Average Rating
7.09 /10
 
Starring
Christine Brown - Alison Lohman , Clay Dalton - Justin Long
Full Cast >
 

Directed by: Sam Raimi
Written by: Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi

 
 
 
Released: 2009
   
Genre: BLACK COMEDY
HORROR
THRILLER
COMEDY
   
Origin: US
   
Length: 99
 
 


 
Working Girl meets The Exorcist.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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No one attending a movie called Drag Me To Hell should expect taste or subtlety. However, it delivers conclusive proof that trashy movies can be heaven.

Writer-director Sam Raimi has been responsible for some classy cinematic creations, among them A Simple Plan and the first two Spider-man movies, but he made his name directing schlock horror such as The Evil Dead. After the demoralising disaster of Spider Man 3 he’s decided to return to his roots.

If you’re in the mood for a truly disgusting horror movie, or if ever you’ve wished that all bankers would rot in hell, you should have a really good time.

The heroine is a young woman (Alison Lohman, pictured left) who has an upscale academic boyfriend (Justin Long) and good prospects of promotion. She is up for the post of assistant manager at her bank, and to impress her boss (David Paymer) she takes a firm stand against an old woman (Lorna Raver, pictured right) who comes in begging for a third extension on her mortgage.

I call her an old woman, but that is seriously to understate her repulsiveness. She has discoloured talons instead of fingernails, disgusting personal habits that involve frequent removal of her appallingly dirty dentures, and a tendency to steal things when she thinks no one is looking.

She also has one eye, when – as Dickens remarked of Wackford Squeers in Nicholas Nickleby, “the popular prejudice runs in favour of two.”

Even those of us who may not automatically warm to members of the banking profession will see our heroine’s point when she turns down the old hag’s demand for a loan, and will flinch when the disappointed customer responds with that age-old standby of horror fiction, a gypsy curse.

The gist is that our heroine has three days to lift the curse, or a demonic, goat-like Lamia (clearly a refugee from Jacques Tourneur’s 1957 horror flick Night of the Demon) will grab her and take her screaming down to Hades.

The joy of the movie lies partly in the grossness of the old woman, one of the most memorably vile caricatures in the whole of cinema. Clearly, Hungarian gypsies are not an influential pressure group, or Raimi might have felt inhibited by political correctness.

But my guess is that even Hungarian gypsies will see the funny side. Raimi brings a tongue-in-cheek humour to the proceedings, skilfully mixing black comedy in with the shocks.

A particularly treasurable scene is the Meet the Parents tribute where our heroine tries to battle the forces of the underworld at the same time as putting on a show of propriety for her boyfriend’s posh parents.

Justin Long adds a welcome note of anti-supernatural scepticism to the proceedings and grounds the whole thing in a measure of kindness that counterbalances the extremely horrid punishments meted out to our heroine.

Alison Lohman, who proved her acting ability in Matchstick Men, has the right fresh-faced innocence to offset her ambition, plus the necessary career-girl feistiness to convince us that she’s going to put up a good fight to keep her life, job and fiance.

Sam Raimi and his screenwriter brother Ivan provide just enough back story – she was brought up on a farm and used to be overweight – to make us sympathetic to her insecurities. Heck, we even root for her when she decides to murder her pet kitten.

Apparently Ellen Page (Juno) was cast in the role but walked out when she realised the physical tribulations involved. Frankly, I don’t blame her.

The central role needed an extremely brave actress, and even for those of us watching, this film is not for the faint-hearted. Projectile nose-bleeds, oral and nasal invasion by flies and the vomiting up of maggots, embalming fluid and an entire cat are a few of the horrors on display.

I also enjoyed the demonically possessed goat.

This film is painstakingly dedicated to making you jump, cringe and giggle nervously, all at the same time.

Bad taste? Undoubtedly. And the slim storyline only just sustains itself to feature length. But if you’re in the mood for this kind of impishness, it’s extremely jolly entertainment.


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